WE HAVE finally been thrown off the Brexit cliff by our Prime Minister, and if you can hear a whooshing sound it's the sound of explanations of its disastrous consequences going straight over Theresa’s head. But Theresa doesn’t care, because Brexit gives the office of the Prime Minister the opportunity to make the greatest power grab in history. When Theresa speaks about taking back control, it’s her own control that she has in mind.

Just one day after the triggering of Article 50, when the Tories were telling us to celebrate Britain taking back power, we discovered they’re introducing legislation that will enable them to take back power from Scotland – and everyone else who isn’t Theresa. The Great Repeal Bill is so called because it’s really about repealing any opposition to Theresa May. When she stood up this week in the House of Commons and said she would represent every person in the UK, she meant it. She meant that whatever she decided would represent everyone else.

The Great Repeal Bill contains a provision for what’s called Henry VIII powers, which basically means giving the Prime Minister and her Cabinet appointees the right to chop the heads off laws and pillage the ministeries. Without having to bother themselves with parliamentary scrutiny or oversight, the Government will be able to change legislation.

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This is what taking back control means in practice. It means the final transformation of the UK into an elective dictatorship and, moreover, one in which the elections are carried out according to an unrepresentative system.

And then the Tories will cheat the electoral process anyway. Scotland certainly won’t be taking back any control if Theresa and her little helpers in Holyrood have anything to do with it. But then she had to be reminded during PMQs that Scotland is actually a country. Theresa and her pals don’t want to allow Scotland a say. It’s unfair, say the architects of an unplanned and chaotic Brexit, to ask Scots to vote on independence before every single consequence of Brexit has played itself out. They may deign to permit Scotland a referendum sometime in the unspecified future, long after Brexit has reduced us all to living in caves. In the new taking-back-control UK, it’s the party that came a very distant second in the Holyrood election that has control. But even then they’ll only countenance another vote if it can be proven beyond any doubt that there are still some straight bananas in Asda. All the Unionist parties are quite definite about the rectitude of bananas as the only fair way of judging whether Scots have all the information about Brexit that they require, although, to be fair, Ukip haven’t voiced an opinion as they’ve been far too busy with their commitments to the BBC. They don’t do very well at elections, but Ukip do have one safe seat – on the Question Time panel.

For Scotland, the Great Repeal Bill is all about repealing Scotland’s ability to resist Brexit. For all that, the Conservatives say there could be more powers for Holyrood after Brexit, these are the same people who refuse to recognise the legitimacy of a vote in the Scottish Parliament. They want us to trust them to deliver more power to a Parliament that they don’t believe in.

The Westminster government insists it is not going to take powers back from Holyrood, but the reality is that if it does not repatriate all the devolved powers currently exercised by Brussels then it’s doing just that. A power that is not specifically reserved to Westminster is a devolved power – that’s what the Scotland Act says.

If Westminster decides unilaterally to retain any of those powers for itself, it is effectively taking power back from Scotland. It is a Westminster power-grab which weakens and undermines the Scottish Parliament. And Westminster will not engage in any negotiations with Scotland about which powers it seeks to retain. Scotland will get the leftovers after Westminster has decided what it wants to keep for itself. So much for all the extra powers that Leavers promised Scotland during the EU referendum campaign. They’re going the exact same way as all the extra powers and security within the EU that Scotland was promised in return for a No vote in 2014.

As Mark Elliot, professor of public law at the University of Cambridge pointed out, the Great Repeal Bill gives “no guarantee that repatriated EU powers will go to devolved institutions, even in relation to subject areas that are currently devolved”.

He added: “The implication seems to be new reserved matters will be carved out of existing devolution settlements. That raises some questions of constitutional politics.”

In order to retain these powers, Westminster will have to make changes to the Scotland Act, and to the equivalent legislation in Wales and Northern Ireland, because according to existing law these powers should automatically come to the devolved parliaments.

The devolved administrations will certainly refuse to give consent, and while Westminster has the legal power to overrule them, it puts the final nail in the coffin of the idea Scotland’s consent is a vital part of its government within the UK.

The Great Repeal Bill will go down in history as the beginning of the repeal of the Treaty of Union. Unionists might think it’s an April Fool for Scotland, but in the longer term the joke will be on them.